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Infant Constipation Remedies

Infant constipation is marked by hard and firm bowel movements, which is very similar to the difficult to pass stool plaguing adult sufferers of constipation. However, whereas bowel habits typically vary in adults, infants who have not had a bowel movement for three days or more are almost positively constipated. The bowels of infants usually move up to four times a day, with breastfed babies having more bowel movements than formula-fed babies. Constipated babies often indicate being in pain or distress when they are unable to go to the bathroom.

In adults, straining is a byproduct of constipation. With infants on the other hand, your baby may strain for several reasons. Around two to four weeks of age, infants start becoming familiar with their bodies and may practice straining while trying on different facial expressions. Infants may also strain while passing a large stool or just due to getting used to the sensations involved with elimination. Just as some of the symptoms of infant and adult constipation coincide, many natural infant constipation remedies are similar to those of adults. Read on!

The Many Hues of Baby Poop

Knowing how an infant’s bowel movement should appear in color, texture, and physical makeup is important for determining whether or not an infant is truly constipated. After all, hard, dry, and brittle waste matter is a common characteristic of infant constipation. Infant BM’s take on different appearances depending upon the age of the baby:

Formula-Fed Infants: Formula-fed infants usually pass bowel movements that are soft in consistency, but only every day or two. The stool can range in color from grayish-green to yellow, and may even be brown or tan. This discoloration depends on the brand or type of formula used, as the chemical compositions can vary between manufacturers.

Breast-Fed Infants: Infants fed naturally generally experience almost no bouts with constipation compared to their formula-fed counterparts. In fact, breast-fed babies typically don’t become constipated until they start eating solid foods. Breast-fed babies generally have bowel movements after every feeding (but at least once a day) and the stools are mostly soft and slightly runny. Healthy baby poop is usually rich yellow to bright orange in color but may contain white “seed-like” specs.

Solid Foods: Around the time infants begin eating solid foods, their bowel movements become more fully formed. Often containing undigested particles, largely due to our modern processing of otherwise healthful foods, solid waste varies in color and occurs less frequently. This is most likely the time you will need some infant constipation remedies tucked away in your memory for quick retrieval!

What Causes Infant Constipation?

Several factors have been linked to constipation in infants. The introduction of solid feeding can promote constipation, especially once a breast-fed baby has been completely weaned from mother’s milk. Like in adult constipation, low fiber diets can trigger infant constipation. Infant diets featuring dairy products, such as yogurt, cheese, and cow’s milk, can contribute to constipation in infants as well. Other foods possibly causing infant constipation include:

  • Bananas
  • Cereal
  • Applesauce
  • Pasta
  • Processed “white” bread
  • Potatoes

Liquid intake deficiency is yet another cause of infant constipation. And it shouldn’t be too difficult to tell if minor dehydration is the culprit. If an infant is not gaining weight at a normal rate or not urinating with regularity, there is a good chance the bowels are blocked due to a lack of fluids. Breast-fed infants don’t need excess fluid. However, babies fed formula need extra water, particularly in warmer weather. Sometimes, the fault lies in the concentrated infant formula not being mixed with the correct amount of water.

As a matter of fact, baby formula may play a more prominent role in infant constipation than just dehydration alone. Trying a different formula can precipitate constipation, as well as switching to animal milk later on. Constipation or inconsistency in bowel movements may also be a sign of food intolerance or allergies. Mothers pass on their own antibodies to babies through breastmilk, so these allergies don’t occur in breast-fed babies except in very rare cases.

Natural Infant Constipation Remedies

Natural infant constipation remedies vary according to age. Increasing water, sugar, and fruit juices in the infant’s diet can help alleviate constipation symptoms. Adding Karo Syrup to an infant’s diet can sometimes help alleviate constipation. Refer to the infant constipation remedies appropriate for your situation by age group:

  1. Infants Under Two Months:  For constipated infants under two months of age, adding an additional ounce of water daily is the simplest means of providing constipation relief to your child. A formula change may be in order if you subscribe to this approach of feeding and symptoms persist.
  2. Infants Between Two and Six Months Old: This age group may find relief from a combination of adding one to two ounces of water and a teaspoon of Karo Syrup to their liquid intake. Change the brand of artificial formula you’re using if necessary.
  3. Infants Six Months and Older: Babies over six months old may be just getting ready to try solid foods. At this stage, add two additional ounces of water daily to their normal intake. Most infants at this age enjoy cereal in the morning so try to find something containing high amounts of fiber that they can also chew and digest. Try giving fruit as a snack, but remember fruit is better absorbed by the body if eaten separate from other foods.
  4. Infants One Year and Up: As babies grow older, natural infant constipation remedies center on increasing activity and decreasing how much whole milk they consume. Natural infant constipation remedies can also take on the form of foods like whole grain breads, fresh fruits and vegetables, oatmeal, and high-fiber cereals. Especially, more water helps kids stay regular so they don’t need any infant constipation remedies.

Preventing Infant Constipation

The best advice—stick to nature’s way where your child’s health is concerned. Women have been breastfeeding for many thousands of years and their bodies were designed specifically with this function in mind. All the NASA technology, Internet innovation, genetic engineering, and chemical manipulations in the world have yet to improve on the natural biological structure and benefits of mother’s milk. Breast-fed infants reap many boons from mother’s milk: vastly increased immunological factors, fewer earaches and infections, greater hardiness and growth, easier digestibility and absorption of nutrients, improved social and emotional adjustment, and reduced chances of becoming constipated just to name a few. The truth of the matter is—you will be far less likely to need infant constipation remedies when you adopt the motto, “The breast is best!”

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